We have had a birthday tradition in our family for as long as I have been alive. At least I can say that I don't recall it ever NOT being a part of our family. I am splitting hairs.
Anyway, every year, my grandmother calls each and every family members' names to the Birthday Contest on a local radio station, WMFR. The morning show, hosted by Max Meeks, airs every Monday - Friday from 5:30 - 9 am. When our birthdays fell over the weekend, my grandmother would call it in on the Friday before or the Monday after. I could write a blog post just about my grandmother's dedication to this losing endeavor, but will save that for another time.
The contest consists of a number is chosen "at random" from what sounds like a bunch of paper in half of a gift box from a local department store. The number is then "matched up" to the corresponding name on the list of people whose names have been called into the show. The winner receives a slew of gift cards to local merchants, including a cake from the Sweet Shoppe Bakery, a car wash from Twin Oaks and bar-b-que from Kepley's. It is nothing life changing, but certainly nothing to scoff at as a native High Pointian.
For 37 years, with the exception of the year I lived abroad, my name has been called into this morning show. And every year, I lose. I have never won this contest. Never. Ever.
I gave up hope in my early 20s. Year after year of disappointment turned my heart against this local station and its dj, Max Meeks. When I was younger I would get up early before school in order to hear my name called on the radio. Year after year, my number wouldn't be called. Year after year, the disappointment turned into bitterness. I was convinced the contest was rigged. I mean, really?Who loses a contest 37 years in a row?!?!?
To add to the rejection, my grandmother believes, erroneously, that somehow in this random drawing of numbers that you can "come close" to winning. For example, if #15 was drawn, and I was #14, my grandmother would exclaim, "Oh, you were only one number off. So close!" If only I had just put forth a little effort in being #15, you know, I might have made it!
We enter the year 2009. The only ones who have not won the birthday contest in our family are me and my father. Oh, and the irony of it all, my grandmother!!! So, in October, I get a call from my dad, early in the morning to inform me, no, make that goad, taunt and tease me, that HE won the birthday contest. To add to this insult, a month later, I was given the most disappointing of all news. Max Meeks, after 50 years of radio hosting is retiring! The end of the birthday contest is looming ahead.
My birthday: December 30th. His retirement date: January 1. It has all come down to this. My last chance, my last opportunity to put forth some addition effort to "be" that winning number and receive the coveted prizes. I hear they even have some facial laser treatment gift certificate now, which I could really, really use approaching 38.. Can I have hope? Can I dream?
Details to come tomorrow morning ...